Dear Me…Selfless Reality, Sing and Smile

This is the final installment to the Dear Me series. Thank you for taking the time to read my heart. I hope my transparency has helped others.

BE SELFLESS… with a healthy dose of reality.

Please don’t take this wrong but you are an incredibly. selfish. person. In a few years you will see this more clearly, and you will be disgusted with your self love.

Around this time you will come under some preaching that will, in the end, because of the sold out way you live, result in your becoming a voiceless drone. You will be taught in upfront and in round about ways that the way to be happy is to have no desires, rights, or voice.

Suffice it to say that you will come to the place where this mindset will only cause more abuse and hatred. Persuaded that you are to blame for everything  you hurt yourself to dull the pain. The pain, of course, only intensifies. Eventually you come to a place where you completely despise yourself.

This behavior only serves to give your abuser another weapon to use against you. All he has to do is convince you that you are to blame and allow you to punish yourself so he can hurt you without ever touching you.

Here’s where the healthy dose of reality comes in. It is never acceptable to be abused by anyone, yourself included. Nor is it right to be the only one devoted to a relationship at the cost of everything to yourself.

Eventually you do understand this and begin to stand up for your rights. Then the phone calls will begin. You will be surrounded in church by deacons and their wives and not allowed to leave until you acknowledge your wrong-doing. And will spend a few hours being chastened by pastors and their spouses. Scolded on all fronts for your “sins”, you’ll be told that your choice to believe God wants to protect you and allows for you to stand up for your rights is evil speaking.

While all his lies are believed you begin to lose everything, including your older children. Learn from my mistakes – don’t explain your decisions, just keep your mouth shut and remember it is not wrong for you to stand upon the truth. The people who truly love you will understand without explanation, in spite of the circumstances.

Thankfully a dear friend helps you realize that protecting yourself from harm isn’t selfish. And she walks the path towards reclaiming realistic selflessness with you.


Use the songs that come across the radio to cheer you, help you to grieve. Enjoy the fun. Bopping in your van will cause people in neighboring cars to look askew in your direction, but who cares. Sing anyways.

Music makes you happy. It ministers to your soul. It’s a balm.

Throw away all the silly man-made rules and live your life, one song at a time.


After all the serious heaviness of this letter I can only conclude on a happy note.

You will be 18 before your crazy, jacked up teeth reach near perfection. Those ugly metal braces will come off and reveal an amazing smile. I know that sounds conceited but from what everyone tells me, it’s one of your best features.

Believe me your smile will be something people around you will appreciate. There is just something about a person who smiles through their adversity that speaks louder than any words you can ever say.

Before I forget…let me remind you to wear your retainer. Just sayin’! 🙂

You have had, and will continue to have, no doubt, so many tragic things happen to you that you will be tempted to wear a frown. Don’t! 

Don’t you dare let your hurts and grief take over your heart and life. 

Smile through the tears! I know you can. I know you will.

Stay strong and keep looking up.

With Love,

The still smiling you.

me and silas grad


Dear Me…Never Ever Quit, Trying Isn’t Your Best, and Forgive


Simple. You already have a decent grasp on this. It’s in your DNA. Hard to get the perseverance of a Pioneer out of your blood.

Be a bold, strong woman of convictions. It’s OK. Really!

Life is hard, especially when you’re not a quitter. You see everyone walking away from commitments and know you have to give it one more shot. Give it your all.

Remember to live your life in such a sold out way that it takes the most dire and terrible circumstances to get you to walk away from a commitment. Be committed to relationships, jobs, your education, goals, or ________.



Sometimes you want to throw your hands up in the air and say, “I tried you should be happy with that!” or “They should be glad I tried.”

Please pay close attention here because this isn’t a matter of semantics. If you are just trying, it really isn’t good enough!

The person you are will never be satisfied with a casual attempt at anything. You can only be content with the knowledge that you did your absolute best.

Granted, you’re not perfect so your absolute best will fall short, a lot! Deal with it. However, living with the don’t quit philosophy will give you great peace of mind when you have done your best and you must leave those that don’t to their own recourse.



Such a foreign word to you right now. And an even more foreign idea. It will take you until you are in your 40’s to finally get a grasp on this but you’ll be ever so glad you forgave others. It really is the only way to not live in bondage to the cancer of hurts that will come your way.

You’re going to have a week when you will see the fruit of your ex-huSband’s hate for you. In one day, at a graduation open house for a friend’s daughter, you will see nearly everyone who willingly, and foolishly, set in motion the destruction of your family.

Your heart will beat out of your chest. As they appear in the distance. What’s more they will act as though you’ve been out sick for a few days. Refusing to acknowledge the pain they have caused.

You will want to give them a hearty peace of your mind. Don’t! 

Instead forgive them! Go home and cry your heart out, and leave them to God.



Dear Me…Never Ever Settle, Live With Regrets and Be Courageous

Part two to the Dear Me letter to my 16 year old self. You can find part one here.

Never. ever. settle!

You think you’re not beautiful, your happiness doesn’t matter, no one can love you, and your dreams are selfish. You couldn’t be more wrong!

This lack of belief in who you are will cause you to think you have the best you can get, which isn’t all that great.

Thinking you will always be alone and lonely if you don’t compromise, you settle. Compromise stinks, girl! Don’t do it!

You *will* see the light right before you make a permanent decision but you will already be so vested you can’t find the way out.

You will cry your way through your wedding, not because you’re happy, but because you know you’re settling and fighting the urge to apologize and run back up the aisle. Being a committed non-quitter you trudge forward and make one of the greatest mistakes of your life.



No, that’s not a typo. 

This is the hardest thing for me to write because there is no question that settling will give you regrets. Yet, there are some regrets worth having.

How is that for giving you mixed signals?!

Your older self will have…wait for it…8, yes, eight, amazing (!) children that she would go through every. single. pregnancy. every. single. birth. every. single. sleepless. night. every. single. day. of their lives. every. single. day. of her “settled” life to continue to have them in her life!!!!

As much as I wish I would have held out for someone much better for me, I know that 8 wonderful people might not be in my life had I done so. How then do I tell you to rob me of the most precious blessings I have ever experienced? I simply, and most selfishly, can’t.

Please, let me live with that one regret. I’m certain I can handle it.



When you are only 40 (I know it sounds old, trust me, it’s young. Very young.) you will be faced with something that will require a great deal of courage and faith. You will be told you have Chiari malformation. After weeks of research you will have to decide if you are willing to continue to degenerate physically, and neurologically, or take a huge risk with an open dura Posterior Fossa Brain decompression surgery.

Yeah, the vet tech in you thinks the brain surgery is cool. The human being in you thinks there’s no way you can be brave enough for it.

You come face to face with Mom’s death from a brain aneurysm nearly 30 years earlier.

You cry yourself to sleep every night, for weeks. Wishing and praying that you had a husband who loved you enough to walk the road with you.

Don’t lose heart because God is there, as He promised He would be. And this is all God giving you a 2nd chance that you needed. An awakening of sorts.


Dear Me…You Are God’s Beloved and Your Dreams Are Important


Farmer’s Daughter at 1986 Farmer’s Fair. The 16 year old me is 2nd from right.

Dear Younger Me,

Over the years, those ever SHORT years…27 of them to be exact, since I was the age you are now, 16, young and excited about my future…I have thought about the words I would say to the me of then. You know, the “if only I would have known” words?!

I have always pushed those words to the back of my mind because, in all honesty, I thought they were best left unsaid. Even now I hesitate to say them lest they be misunderstood. I believe though, that transparency is always a good thing.

Today as I turn 43 I think it’s time to let the words come to the forefront. So here we go…


Stop shaking your head at me!

I know the negative emotion that stirs up in your heart when you hear His name. The hatred caused by your Mommy’s death when you were only 10. It has left an after taste all these years later.

Trust me here that God is good and he does love you. In a few years you will see Him for who He really is.

Prepare to be amazed!

Prepare to be inspired to greater things! Rip you out of your comfort zone sorts of things.

Prepare to be conflicted because of the secret abuses you endure.

Prepare to feel all those feelings towards God, of when you were little, as you go through a horrific divorce.

Prepare to do STUPID…and I mean CRAZY STUPID…things as you lose all but that tiny mustard seed of your faith and believe for a time God has turned His back on you.

Prepare to believe that the Man who could never not (is that functional grammar 😉 ) love you must truly hate you. How could He otherwise allow a monster to reign while you continue to suffer injustices?

Prepare to see again that God’s love is not dependent on man, yourself, or those who claim to love Him.


Right now you envision swimming with dolphins and whales. That dream will never leave your heart, at least it hasn’t yet.

I know you’re already feeling the exasperation that you set this dream aside for someone else’s, because your dreams matter to you. Dream is as important a word to you as love.

I encourage you to own the feelings and disappointments as coming from your own choices.

Move on. Dream new dreams. Believe me, they are wonderful dreams!!!

Oh, you’ll be creating scrapbooks for the FFA Star Regional Reporter contest (you win that, by the way, and get to compete at State). That matters because they are the beginnings of the Graphic Designer you will be when you are my age.

OK, you can quit giggling already! I know you don’t think you’re in artist. Accept that there is a deeply creative artistic person hidden within you. Nurture her. 

…TO BE CONTINUED tomorrow.